"The Official Louisiana State Painting"

painted by


 Johnny F. Bell is one of three children born to Johnny O. and Margaret Thompson Bell. Born in Wynona,  Mississippi, in 1944 he began exhibiting a natural inclination toward the arts at an early age. By age six,  Johnny F. Bell was a student of the arts, taking lessons from his father on a regular basis.

 When the younger Bell was able, he began spending his spare time working in the lettering and mural
 business founded by his father. When Bell graduated from high school in 1963, he had by his own rights  reached a high level of accomplishment in the arts. He entered Louisiana State College in Pineville as an
 art major and married Paulette Capitano Dawson in 1964.

 Although Johnny F. Bell studied new techniques and styles and worked in various artistic media,
 he preferred to express himself through the art of mural painting and portraiture learned from his
 mentor and father. So expertly had he mastered the techniques shown to him that his work, on occasion,
 was mistaken for that of his father. The elder Bell himself admitted that he has come across one of this
 son’s works, mistook it for one of his own and wondered that he could not remember painting it.

 The similarities in their styles and techniques extended to their dream of creating a single oil work on
 canvas to represent their beloved state of Louisiana. It took twenty-three years from the time they began  collaborating on the work until “Louisiana” was named the Official State Painting, but they never gave up
 the dream. Johnny f. Bell and his father were able to work interchangeably on the canvas and, to signify
 that the two artists had successfully merged their talents, they put their names to the finished work on a
 single signature line: the son’s middle initial contained within that of his father’s.

 “Louisiana” won the hearts, and the votes, of the state’s senators and representatives. After passing
 through both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Governor Edwin W. Edwards supported the
 choice for the first Official State Painting in America by signing Act 981 on June 29, 1995.

 Johnny F. Bell continues to work closely with his father and support the family trade. He is highly regarded
 for his own artistic abilities and has been commissioned throughout the United States to complete works of
 art for both the private and public sectors.

 For his contribution to the state of Louisiana and in recognition of his exceptional artistic achievements,  Johnny F. Bell was named State Artist Laureate by Governor Murphy J. “Mike” Foster.


Email: Johnny F. Bell

About Johnny O. Bell

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